Friday, December 27, 2013

Correcting the Calendar

By the time 1582 rolled around, the Julian calendar was no longer accurate and the refined Gregorian calendar was slated to become the daily planner of choice. Great Britain obviously thought that this required further study and waited until 1751 to pass an act "regulating the Commencement of the Year, and correcting the calendar now in use." In order to prevent widespread confusion and panic, the act decreed that January would become the "first month of the year 1752." Prior to this March had been the usual start of the new year.

We have a small pamphlet purportedly printed by Benjamin Franklin in 1751. It reproduces a London Society of Friends pamphlet that briefly explains the act, provides readers with a small conversion table for the calendar switch, and gives a history of the names of the months and the days of the week.

According to the pamphlet, January is named for the Roman god Janus, February for the rituals surrounding sacrifices to the "Heathen God Pan," March for the god Mars and so on. The historical provenance of the names of the days of the week are likewise discussed and the pamphlet notes, rather snidely, that the "continued Use of these Names of Days, derived from such gross Idolatry of the Heathen, is a demonstration, how little the Purity of the Christian Religion was understood by the Generality of those who came into the publick Profession of it." A bit of we now know better than the unwashed masses who came before.

To avoid this morass of heathen superstition, the pamphlet then goes on to recommend the use of numerical designations for months and days, something the authors claimed was the "most Ancient" and "the most plain, simple and rational" method.

The pamphlet is dated "the sixth Day of the Seventh Month, 1751."

Ask for Presses F854f.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Something Pretty for the Holiday

Among our many medieval manuscripts is this beautiful leaf from a 16th century Italian antiphonal celebrating the Christmas Day mass. This floriated initial G leads into one of the most famous lines of Christian choral music: "Gloria in excelsis Deo."

We hope it brightens your holiday season.

We are closed through January 1st, but after that you can see the manuscript in person by asking for MS 002091.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Filling in Vasari

When Giorgio Vasari set out to illustrate his Le vite de' piv eccellenti pittori, scvltori, e architettor (Fiorenza: Appresso i Giunti, 1568) he aimed for authenticity in his depiction of each of the artists represented. But there were a handful for whom Vasari had no reliable likeness to draw on.  He placed blank medallion frames at the heads of each of their entries. Was he giving a future reader an opportunity to complete his work once a reliable image had been found? Or, by acknowledging his own ignorance, were the blanks there to bolster the integrity of the rest of his work?

In our copy, a 16th or 17th century artist took advantage of the several of Vasari's blanks and has provided beautiful pen and ink sketches to "finish" the work. This copy was owned by an 17th centry art historian, so perhaps he had access to likenesses Vasari did not and commissioned an artist to fill in the blanks.


Come see our improved Vasari by asking for Rare N6922.V2 1568.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Alone on Foot

For those of you who dread getting up in the morning, or have ever had to endure lengthy speeches about days of trudging to school in the snow "uphill both ways," we have an item that just may make you feel a bit better about your daily commute. Imagine leaving home by yourself and traveling hundreds of miles on foot, just for the promise of an education. For the Indian students of the Moor's Indian Charity School founded by Eleazar Wheelock in 1754, this was a reality.

This passport, discovered among the effects of William Allen, D.D., President of Dartmouth and of Bowdoin Colleges, whose wife, Maria Malleville Wheelock, was the granddaughter of President Eleazar Wheelock, documents the travels of Wheelock's Indian students on their journey from Bethel, N.J., to Lebanon, Connecticut. The passport is a sheet 15 inches long and 12 inches wide, folded into fourths and stitched together at each crease.

Two of Eleazar Wheelock's students, Delaware Indian boys John Pumshire aged 14 and Jacob Woolley, aged 11, were the first to make the long trip to Moor's. John and Jacob "left all their Relations & Acquaintances, and came alone, on foot, above 200 miles, and thro' a Country, in which they knew not one Mortal, and where they had never pass'd before" all to receive education and missionary training from a stranger they had never seen or heard of themselves.

On the top left corner of the passport reads an introduction from Aaron Burr, second President of the College of New Jersey, and John Brainerd, brother of David Brainerd, who lived at Bethel, N.J., where the Indian boys started on their journey to Lebanon, Connecticut:
Gentlemen and Christian Friends,
These Indian Boys, the Bearers of this, are upon a Journey from Bethel the Indian Town in New Jersey, to Lebanon in Connecticut, in order to be put to Learning under the Inspection of the Reverend Mr. Wheelock, with a View to prepare them for the Gospel Ministry, and a design to propagate Christian Knowledge among the Native Indians in this Land: and therefore are recommended to the Charity of Christian People as they pass through the Country.
The passport combines, on a single sheet of paper, a letter and diagonally placed travel directions. The left side of the itinerary has twenty-seven place names, beginning with Bethel at the bottom of the page and Lebanon at the top. Each place name is complemented on the right side by a name of reference, where the boys could ask for assistance, food, and shelter. Of the 28 places listed on the itinerary, all but two (Bethel and Horseneck) can be easily identified on a map today. The presence of a diagonal line between entries indicates the point at which the boys would need to cross a major river - those of which included the Raritan, Hudson, Housatonic, and Connecticut.

This passport, along with other items from the Moor's Charity School is currently on exhibit in the Class of 1965 Galleries until February 28th. Afterward, feel free to come in and request the passport by asking for Mss D.C. Hist. 754900.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mandela Hall

Last week, with the death of Nelson Mandela, the world lost an exceptional leader and dedicated crusader for human rights. He brought the light of his cause to all corners of the globe, including a small college in New Hampshire where, briefly, there stood a Mandela Hall.

Apartheid and the College's investments in companies doing business in South Africa had caused some protest at Dartmouth dating back to the 1970s. In the 1980s unrest among the students and faculty in regard to the College's investment polices increased and became organized in a serious way. Rallies, teach-ins, vigils and recommendations generated by numerous committees and groups urged the Board of Trustees to divest. In June 1985, the Board issued its first statement supporting divestment, voting to remove from its portfolio companies not complying with the Sullivan Principles during the next year.

Taking their cue from activities at other colleges and universities where shantytowns had proved to be an effective protest method, on November 16, 1985, the Dartmouth Community for Divestment constructed two shanties on the green, Biko Memorial Hall and Mandela Hall. In addition, the DCD issued two demands to the Trustees, expecting their written statement of acceptance by mid-day, November 18th.

The Trustees did not respond to the DCD demands, and a third shanty was built. Town officers, students, faculty and community members argued and debated the legality of the shanties. On November 21st, College president David McLaughlin stated that the shanties could remain as long as they served an educational purpose.

And remain they did, at least until the night of Jan 21-22, 1986, when twelve students calling themselves the Dartmouth Committee to Beautify the Green Before Winter Carnival, took sledge hammers to the structures, and sent a brief letter to President McLaughlin stating that they were "merely picking up trash off the Green." The discussions that had surrounded the legality of constructing shanties on the green were instantly replaced by debate over the violent actions of the DCBGBWC.

Over time, the dust settled, but opposition to the College's investment policies continued for a few more years following the shanty incident, until finally, in November 1989, the Trustees voted to fully divest.

To learn more, ask for the Vertical Files "Student Protests 1985" and Student Protests 1986."

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Story of Crime, Punishment and Redemption Torn from the Headlines!

The history of the best known engraving of Dartmouth College--how it came about, and the life of the artist who created it--is one of the more unusual tales in American print history.

Christian Meadows (1814-after 1872) was an engraver who immigrated to Boston from England in the 1830s. In early 1849, Meadows was working for W. W. Wilson of Boston, engraving plates for bank notes and dies for stamping coins. He disappeared about the same time some plates for printing bank notes were stolen from the firm. In March of that year, Meadows appeared in Wells River, Vermont, in the company of his wife, the burglar and bank robber William "Bristol Bill" Warburton, and Margaret O'Connell, a Boston counterfeiter. Meadows was suspected of passing counterfeit notes at a Wells River bank, and a search of the group's Groton, Vermont, house revealed burglar's tools, a printing press, and some of the engraved bank note plates that had been stolen from W. W. Wilson. Meadows was arrested, tried for counterfeiting, convicted, and sentenced to ten years at the Vermont State Prison in Windsor beginning in June, 1850. The story of the breaking of this counterfeiting ring was sensational enough to be carried in newspapers from as far west as Wisconsin.

The following year, three Dartmouth students--E.T. Quinby, George W. Gardner, and Charles Caverno--planned to commission an engraving of the College. The trio went to Boston in search of an engraver and learned that New England's finest engraver was imprisoned at Windsor. They asked Warden Henry Harlow to permit Meadows to work on the project. Meadows must have been a model prisoner, for Harlow allowed him to travel from Windsor to the Dartmouth campus under guard to make drawings for the engraving. Upon returning to the prison, Meadows engraved the copper plate for the print.

Meadows chose a view looking south from near the present site of Rollins Chapel to depict Wentworth Hall, Dartmouth Hall, Thornton Hall, and the whitewashed Reed Hall. The three-and-a-half story brick Dartmouth Hotel can be glimpsed through trees at the right opposite the common which is bordered by fences and crisscrossed by paths. The prominent elm in the foreground recalls the tree's popularity as an ornamental, and saplings protected by tree boxes to prevent hitched horses from damaging their trunks flank the elm and are planted around the common. Meadows' view projects order and serenity--qualities that he seems to have been unable to integrate into his life up to that time.

The print was seen by Dr. John Walker of the New Hampshire Agricultural Society who offered the jailed engraver the job of producing the Society's diploma to be awarded at the annual agricultural fair. A pastoral drawing by portrait painter Daniel G. Lamont who was then living near Daniel Webster's birthplace in Franklin, New Hampshire, was incorporated into the final image by Meadows. A copy of the engraved diploma was sent to Webster who was Secretary of State in the Fillmore administration. Upon seeing it, Webster remarked: "Who is the engraver that has done this? Where does he dwell? I have been searching for such a man. We want him at the State Department to engrave Maps."

Webster asked Vermont Governor Charles K. Williams to pardon Meadows, asking "Why do you bury your best talents in your state prisons?" The Governor declined, and a year later Webster was dead. A new Governor, Erastus Fairbanks, issued the pardon probably out of respect for Webster and his earlier effort. Meadows was freed on July 4, 1853, and he remained in Windsor until 1859 making engravings of education institutions including Appleton Academy in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, and Vermont's Thetford Academy.  Meadows moved to Buffalo, New York, the following year where he worked as an engraver, he was listed under the same occupation in Toronto city directories for 1871 and 1872, and then he disappears from the record.

To see engravings made by Meadows in and out of prison, ask for Iconography 72, 416, 735, Broadside f852590, and f862626.

Posted for Richard Miller
     

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Body of Inquiry

The last few blog posts have been a bit disturbing--first a woman being flayed alive, and then poor Molly Goosey being served up for Thanksgiving dinner. So its time for something a little more empowering: a reclaiming of the body. Inspired by an anatomical model, "Torso Woman," Casey Gardner created a stunning triptych flap-book, Body of Inquiry (Berkeley: Casey Gardner: Set in Motion Press: Still Wild Books, 2011). The book harkens back to historical flap books like this 1702 edition in our collections (Remmelin's Survey of the Microcosme, or the Anatomy of the Bodies of Man and Woman) to create a new understanding of the politics of the body.

In Gardner's hands the flaps do more than reveal the basic anatomy of her subject. They provide the author with an opportunity to meditate on life, the body and its many parts, and the literal and metaphoric meanings attached to those parts.

Interestingly, Remmelin originally created his flap books for the use of "Physicians, Chyrurgeons, Statuaries, Painters, etc." Over 300 years later, an artist has successfully taken him up on his offer.

To see Body of Inquiry, ask for Presses S492bod. The Survey of the Microcosme is Rare QM21 .R4513.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Ill-Fated Moll

To celebrate Thanksgiving this year we bring you a charmingly illustrated book from our Class of 1926 collection. Thanksgiving Day: or the Fate of Poor Molly Goosey (Boston: Wier & White, ca. 1850). This hand-colored children's book relates the tale of young Prince Gander's courtship with the lovely Miss Molly Goosey. The two fall madly in love and became engaged, then the troubles start:

Both looked forward, soon, to a sweet honeymoon,
For neither of them did remember,
That once, every year, there comes, it is clear,
A Thanksgiving day in November.

And then, I've heard say, it is a Festival day,
When people scorn beef, veal, and mutton,
By way of excuse, on a well stuffed goose,
To play the inordinate glutton.

As the lovers were walking, one morning, and talking,
O, think of the pangs they must suffer,
To hear the fat cook say, with ominous look,
"I must presently kill her and stuff her."

At Molly our swain looked with evident pain,
For he feared Moll might be such a sinner
His young bride to choose for her Thanksgiving goose,
To be killed, stuffed, and roasted for dinner.

As the day nearer drew, more uneasy he grew,
For a kind of foreboding possessed him!
But Moll, not a whit cared for cookery or spit,
As she said,---whilst she fondly caressed him.

But oh! lady gay,---'ere that Thanksgiving day,
In fact, two or three days before it,
A chase there was seen, upon Roxbury Green,
And the lovers had cause to deplore it.

Without more delay, then suffice it to say,
That some farmers that day met together,
Of a goose to partake, and a good dinner make,
While they talked of the markets and weather.

But the goose they extol, is the ill-fated Moll,
Whilst Prince Gander, as pale as a muffin,
Faintly uttered, "Alas!" as he saw the dish pass,
And died upon smelling the stuffing.

Ask for 1926 Collection T3544, and enjoy your TURKEY,

Friday, November 22, 2013

Gender, Skin, and Power

Jean Struys's sensational accounts of travels in the East established many of the western European myths about Persia. He took stories he heard on his travels and retold them as unquestioned truths to an audience eager for exotic tales of the East.

One story he recounted was of a woman captured and forced into a Persian harem. She tried to escape, was captured, then flayed alive as punishment. Her husband displayed her skin as a warning to his other wives, or so the story went. It is a horrific tale of misogyny that was illustrated in many editions of Struys's Voyages. The image here, from the French language edition Les Voyages de Jean Struys (Amsterdam: Ches la Veuve de Jacob van Meurs, 1681), shows both the flaying and the display of the skin. It depicts a scene of cruelty and torture that is made even more disturbing by the way it exploits the positioning of the woman to become almost pornographic.

Compare it to another scene of flaying in Juan de Valverde's Anatomia (Roma: A. Salamanea et A. Lafrerj, 1560). Here it is a man whose skin has been stripped off his body. But rather than being a victim, he is portrayed as a heroic figure displaying his exposed musculature to the world as an example of the wonder of the human form. Moreover, he is given agency: it is his hand that holds the flaying knife. The contrast couldn't be more stark.

To see the Struys, ask for Rare G460.S934 1681. The Valverde is Rare QM21.V35.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sophisticated Traveler

There are seemingly few things more incongruous than the work of illustrator Edward Gorey and a magazine called the Sophisticated Traveler, filled with advertisements of escapism for the elite upper class of the 1980's. So, imagine my surprise upon finding just that in Rauner Special Collections.

"Being Brave Abroad" and "Back Home" by Edward Gorey feature four captioned cartoons each. The pictures show snapshot moments of white elites navigating the world around them. In "Being Brave Abroad," under the caption, "Ordering the spécialité de maison without even asking what it is," one image shows a man and woman in a sea-side restaurant being served a plate of black sludge with red tentacles creeping out of it. Gorey's mockery becomes evident when one notices the small shelf of human skulls behind the couple. The joke takes on two forms: one that a member of the upper class would laud themselves for simply trying something new without asking what it is; and the other, that maybe this couple should have asked, in case the skulls are a product of the dish.

Flipping through the pages of the magazine can give a taste of the very world that Gorey pushed against in these illustrations. The advertisements feature smiling, predominately white couples boasting about their escape to the "exotic" places pictured. One of my favorites ads declares "How to feel on top of the world while travelling around it," and offers the simple solution of Black and Decker's travel hairdryer set. I had no idea it was that easy!

Time gives us a lens to see the absurdity and deeply problematic delusion of the upper class "living the fine life," and Gorey's illustrations provide that same lens. The ability to compare Gorey's perspective positioned within the pages of the magazine, and ours, outside of the magazine and the time that bore it, can allow us to better understand how we can push against the pictures of perfection in our own magazines. Or, simply enjoy wondering what the editors were thinking in including cartoons that mock their own magazine.

To become a Sophisticated Traveler yourself--or to enjoy mocking one--ask for Illus G675bei and Illus G675bac.

Posted for Lucy Morris '14

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Faithful Ten

John Wingate Weeks began his campaign in 1904 to represent Massachusetts in the United States House of Representatives. A retired Army captain and veteran of the Spanish-American War, Weeks began his political career as an alderman in Newton, Massachusetts, in 1899 and became mayor of the city in 1903.

Having made a fortune as a banker, co-founding the Boston financial firm of Hornblower and Weeks in 1888, Weeks had all the money he needed to run for higher office. In the days before direct primaries, a candidate had to be nominated in a district convention. Weeks seemed like the right candidate for the job.

Almost immediately an active working group of his devoted friends formed to support his election. The group met regularly and became known as the "Faithful Ten" after the title "The John W. Weeks Campaign Luncheon Club" was found to be lacking in conviction. The group was comprised of William F. Garcelon, Jesse S. Wiley, George S. Bullard, Eben D. Bancroft, William M. Flanders, Henry N. Sweet, Seward W. Jones, Edward W. Baker, Charles E. Hatfield and James E. Shaw and was instrumental in Weeks's election to the House with an overwhelming majority.

John Weeks served four terms in the House before moving on to the Senate in 1913. During his time in Congress, Weeks pushed key banking and conservation legislation including the Weeks Bill (which allowed for the creation of National Forests) and the Forestry Bill (which insured federal protection for migratory birds). After failing to win re-election in 1918, Weeks retired to his house in Mt. Prospect, New Hampshire. In 1921 he was asked back to Washington to serve as the Secretary of War under Presidents Harding and Coolidge.

To learn more about John Wingate Weeks ask for ML-1, The Papers of John Wingate Weeks and The Life of John Weeks by George C. Washburn.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sgt. Allen Scott Norton

Veterans day is a day when we remember those served, as well as those who paid the ultimate price. In the end, though, it is just that: a day. It is vastly more important that we go a step further, that we try to remember the deeds and the lives that made our way of life possible. The best way to do this is to talk with veterans, to engage in an ongoing dialogue with those who witnessed history first hand. Unfortunately, we are witnessing the last of our World War Two veterans pass away, and Our First World War veterans are no longer with us. Where we cannot discuss history with first-hand witnesses, we must turn to the words and pictures they set down in their diaries and scrapbooks. As luck would have it, Rauner Special Collections Library holds a treasure trove of such items.

With the approaching anniversary of the First World War, a few gems in the broad collection of materials stand out. Unbeknownst to most Dartmouth students, our college played an important part in the war. Before America's entry, Dartmouth sent the Dartmouth Ambulance Corps to France, where they valiantly contributed to the war effort. As a result, the first American to die in the First World War was a Dartmouth student. Upon America's entry into the war, Dartmouth raised a regiment of the Dartmouth Fusiliers, tearing up the athletic fields to build a full-scale trench system for the young men to drill in.

Many albums in Rauner are filled with these jovial pictures of training and parades. Others depict the voyage to France or the destruction wreaked by German artillery. One small group of items stood out among these, more poignant than any image.

Sgt. Allen Scott Norton, a Dartmouth student, diligently kept a small and neat diary, complete with many photographs and very much typical of those in the Rauner collections. Unlike many others, his diary is not finished. Sgt. Norton's mother learned of his death when a letter she sent her son was returned, stamped, "Deceased." A local newspaper reported that the family had yet to learn any further details. Later, they would receive a brief letter informing them of their son's death, and a small picture of the crude wooden cross that marked his final resting place. After the war, another letter was sent, informing them that the cross had been replaced with a stone marker, and providing them with a picture of the vast field of similar headstones, each representing on of his fallen comrades.

Clockwise from the top left: A letter to Sgt. Allen Scott Norton from his mother, stamped "Deceased." This is how the family first heard of their son's death in WWI. A postcard of the cemetery in which Sgt. Norton was buried. The official telegram noticing his family of his death. A photo that accompanied the official telegram to his family, depicting his makeshift wooden grave marker.

I think these four objects commemorate service better than any day can.

Posted for Sandor Farkas, a '17 from Western Massachusetts. He is enrolled in ROTC and his passion for military history manifests itself in the American War of Independence reenacting and diorama making he does in his "free" time. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Mystical Text

Preparing for a class this week, we came across a tantalizing manuscript that we know little about: a Sufi devotional text created in the mid to late 18th century. It takes the same form as most Islamic manuscript prayer books of the time. It is in a wallet binding with the text framed in gold. Glossed instructions and comments radiate away from the text at angles defined by blind pressed grid lines. Decorative floral patterns luxuriously fill the empty spaces to create a surprising and satisfying page layout.

But this text has something special. About a third of the way through the prayers, there is a two-page illuminated spread. Two images of a rose set into an intricate border mirror each other.  When the book is closed, they come together as a single rose, complete only when not seen. The opening, so different from the rest of the book, offers a moment to ponder Sufi mysticism: it encompasses light/illumination, unity/division, and a completeness that cannot be seen--only experienced in the mind.

To see it, ask for Codex MS 001883.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower

In January of 1776, in the midst of the Revolutionary War, Eleazar Wheelock, the founder and first president of Dartmouth College wrote to Captain Asa Foot regarding the purchase of a cheese and a Negro. Lest there be any doubt about Wheelock's intent, he states "as to the Negro, I don't know when I shall be able to pay for him…"

While it should come as no surprise that Dartmouth College was founded, in part, on the backs of slaves, it is not something that gets discussed on a regular basis. Nor is Dartmouth alone. Craig Wilder's new book Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities brings out the role that American colleges and universities have played in aiding and abetting the institution of slavery. Wilder's research specifically mentions Dartmouth and it is important to note that Wheelock owned at least eight or nine slaves. When he came to Hanover to carve the College out of the wilderness, he brought some of these slaves with him and it seems likely that they performed much of the hard labor needed to clear the land and establish the College.

Dartmouth's complex relationship with slavery does not end with Wheelock. In the 1830s Dartmouth had both an Abolitionist Society and a Colonization Society, while at the same time sporting a pro-slavery president, Nathan Lord.

To learn more about Wheelock and the College's early relationship to slavery, come to Rauner and request any of the manuscripts listed below:
  • 757157 Bill of sale, William Clark to Eleazar Wheelock; for "Ishmael, being a servant for life"
  • 760276 Bill of sale, Peter Spenser to Eleazar Wheelock; for "Negro manservant named Brister"
  • 761477 Bill of sale, Timothy Kimbal to Eleazar Wheelock; for "a certain Negro man named Sippy" [name mis-transcribed, but unclear]
  • 762313 Bill of sale, Ann Morrison to Eleazar Wheelock; for "a Negro man named Exeter…a Negro woman named Chloe…and a Negro male child named Hercules.
  • 765554.2 Occom to Wheelock; re: needs use of Negro and oxen
  • 768675 Benjamin Bill to Exeter; re: complaint that Exeter abuses his wife
  • 768675.1 Benjamin Bill to Wheelock; re: complaint against Exeter
  • 769240.1 Theodora Phelps to Wheelock; re: lending one of his slaves
  • 769365 Jacob Johnson to Wheelock; re: death of his Negro
  • 769474.2 Eleazar Wheelock to John Wheelock; is going to Albany for his health and taking Brister along to wait on him
  • 772167 Buckingham to Wheelock; re sale of slaves Nando and Hagar
  • 773306 Wheelock to Captain Moses Little; will buy slave Ceasar for £20
  • 775157 Wheelock to John Hubbard; agrees to pay Thomas Devine's debt and obtain release from imprisonment. Devine to be indentured to Wheelock. [likely white indentured servant, but not clear]
  • 775673 Wheelock to Gideon Buckingham; Owes the one hundred pounds expected from the addressee and is in difficulty because he cannot pay the money. Offers to give Nando 20 acres of land and his freedom if heirs agree to send him and Hagar to writer who thinks God is displeased at the heirs for allowing Nando to treat his wife as he has.
  • 776128 Eleazar Wheelock to Asa Foot; "procure the cheese and send it along with the Negro if that may be done with safety"…"and as to the Negro, I don’t know when I shall be able to pay for him"
  • 779252.6 Wheelock will; which leaves all interest in his servants to his son John; to his servant boy Archilaus his freedom when he reaches the age of 25 years and if he is judged to be of good moral character, and also gives him 50 acres of land in Landaff or some other of his outland
  • 786424 "Chloe, Negro of Hanover;" issues a complaint that Andrew Boynton has stolen a shirt off her fence

Friday, November 1, 2013

Always With You

If we wanted to we could assemble an amazing cabinet of curiosities. Here is a favorite example. This is the entire text of the Koran executed in a miniature Arabic hand on a parchment scroll that is only 3 inches wide and 48 inches long. It can only be read with the aid of a magnifying glass, and rolls up small enough to be worn as an amulet.

The scroll, which was produced in 1101 A.H. (1689 A.D.), leaves off the titles of the 114 Suras and elides any indications of the verses to concentrate the text into as small a package as possible. Other than some gold leaf, all of the decorative elements are created by leaving gaps between words. Creating this manuscript was almost surely an act of devotion demanding tremendous patience and skill.

It is amazing.  Ask for Codex MS 689940. We have a magnifying glass you can use.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Don't Fail to See It"

Before the novels and the Pulitzer, Edith Wharton made her mark by writing about garden design, interior decoration and what constituted good taste. Her first published book was The Decoration of Houses (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1897) in which she tastefully railed against Victorian decorating sensibilities and advocated for the use of more open spaces that emphasized the room, not the furnishings.

Wharton's next non-fiction work was a lavishly illustrated book about the architecture and surrounding gardens of Italian villas aptly named Italian Villas and Their Gardens (New York: Century, 1905). The book included numerous drawings and photographs, primarily by Cornish Colony artist Maxfield Parrish. In Rauner's collection of Parrish's papers are correspondence with Wharton about the book as well as some of the original plate negatives used as inspiration for his illustrations.

One particularly interesting letter "sums up" Wharton's impressions of the various villas in Florence. The Villa Medici gets a nod of approval - "Open certain days. Don't fail to see it." The Villa Albani is dismissed as "Hard to see and not worth while." The Villa d'Este in Tivoli is "Wonderful of course. Always open." Entries on other sites contain additional information about permits, whom to obtain them from and when to visit to avoid complications due to school calendars or other potential hazards.

Ask for ML-62, box 3, folder 43 to read the correspondence and Illus P249wha for the first edition of Italian Villas. The negatives are extremely fragile and are housed in Box 13 of the Parrish collection. A guide to the Parrish collection is available.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pirates!

Thinking of dressing up like a pirate this Halloween? If you want the classic look popularized in the 19th century, Howard Pyle is the place to go. But, if you want a more authentic take on the style, try The Bucaniers of America: Or, a True Account of the Most Remarkable Assault Committed of Late Years upon the Coasts of the West-Indies by the Bucaniers of Jamaica and Tortuga, Both English and French (London: William Crooke, 1684). Not only will you find some good costume ideas, but you can read about the exploits of the campus favorite Captain (Henry) Morgan.

Originally published in Dutch in 1678, this 1684 English translation added to Alexander Exquemelin's first hand accounts of his encounters with pirates in the Caribbean. It helped to popularize the romantic and sensational tales of privateers and pirates and built the modern mythology surrounding their exploits.

Just ask for Rare F2161 .E75 1684.






Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Shape up!

Prang's inexpensive color lithography technique revolutionized advertising and made color greeting cards commonplace. His work appeared in millions of scrapbooks in the the late 19th century. He also made novelty books like this shaped book of Little Red Riding Hood.

In the original Perrault telling of Little Red Riding Hood, our young heroine is eaten by the wolf. It is a cautionary tale about the wolves of the world that stalk young women. But the story has become much nicer over time. But in this 1863 edition, Little Read Riding Hood is saved at the last minute by a hunter--not even her grandmother dies. It still has a cautionary moral at the end, but it only reminds the young to shape up and obey their mothers.

Eerily, when you open the book, it looks remarkably like a tombstone.

Come see it by asking for 1926 Collection V489.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Haute Couture for Books

Bindings 69
In high fashion there's often a disconnect between the world of the practical and that of "just because I can." Over-the-top or outlandish designs, often for the sake of the splash of the design itself, also find their way into the world of bookbinding. Sometimes this is deliberate and sometimes it's an honest effort to reflect the nature of the text that just spiraled out of control.

Rauner holds numerous examples of bindings that clearly reflect this decorative dominance and one of our first blogs was about our jewel-bound Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. Today's selections incorporate ivory, enamel, wallpaper, velvet, jewels, precious metals, hand-stitching and other materials and techniques intended to enhance the visual appeal of each book and make it stand out from the crowd. You be the judge of which designs qualify as high fashion for books. Do any of them actually reflect the nature of the text or enhance it?

Bindings 59
Bindings 52

Bindings 49
Bindings 47

Bindings 243
Bindings 104
Bindings 96
Ask for the following items:
Bindings 47
Bindings 49
Bindings 52
Bindings 59
Bindings 69
Bindings 96
Bindings 104
Bindings 243